Bestsellers to Remember (1994 – 2016)

By Candice Chaplin | June 2 2021 | FictionNonfiction

The power of the backlist lies in titles that aren’t new to us, but may be to booksellers or consumers. Titles that were major bestsellers when they were published may fall off account inventory lists for various reasons, or newer booksellers may simply not be aware of them.

Here’s a list of fiction and non-fiction titles which topped the bestseller lists over the past 25 years and still sell well today. Be sure to review inventory with accounts and reintroduce titles no longer in stock!

Examples below, and to see the complete list:

  • On Edelweiss, click here
  • On the Backlist Vault, click here

Note: if you have recommendations for other titles that should be included here, please contact us at backlist@penguinrandomhouse.com.

 

The Deep End of the Ocean
A Novel
978-0-14-028627-4
"Masterful...A big story about human connection and emotional survival" - Los Angeles Times The first book ever chosen by Oprah's Book ClubFew first novels receive the kind of attention and acclaim showered on this powerful story—a nationwide bestseller, a critical success, and the first title chosen for Oprah's Book Club. Both highly suspenseful and deeply moving, The Deep End of the Ocean imagines every mother's worst nightmare—the disappearance of a child—as it explores a family's struggle to endure, even against extraordinary odds. Filled with compassion, humor, and brilliant observations about the texture of real life, here is a story of rare power, one that will touch readers' hearts and make them celebrate the emotions that make us all one.
$16.00 US
Oct 01, 1999
Paperback
Penguin Books
World

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
978-0-679-75152-6
THE LANDMARK NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city: “Elegant and wicked.... [This] might be the first true-crime book that makes the reader want to book a bed and breakfast for an extended weekend at the scene of the crime." —The New York Times Book Review • 30th Anniversary Edition with a New Afterword by the Author.Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this true-crime book has become a modern classic.
$18.00 US
Jun 28, 1999
Paperback
Vintage
US, Canada, Open Mkt

Girl with a Pearl Earring
A Novel
978-0-452-28215-5
The New York Times bestselling novel by the author of A Single Thread and At the Edge of the OrchardTranslated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film, starring Scarlett Johanson and Colin FirthTracy Chevalier transports readers to a bygone time and place in this richly-imagined portrait of the young woman who inspired one of Vermeer's most celebrated paintings.History and fiction merge seamlessly in this luminous novel about artistic vision and sensual awakening. Girl with a Pearl Earring tells the story of sixteen-year-old Griet, whose life is transformed by her brief encounter with genius . . . even as she herself is immortalized in canvas and oil.
$17.00 US
Jan 01, 2001
Paperback
Penguin Books
US,CAN,OpnMkt(no EU)

Seabiscuit
An American Legend
978-0-449-00561-3
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of the runaway phenomenon Unbroken comes a universal underdog story about the horse who came out of nowhere to become a legend. Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit’s fortunes: Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon.Praise for Seabiscuit “Fascinating . . . Vivid . . . A first-rate piece of storytelling, leaving us not only with a vivid portrait of a horse but a fascinating slice of American history as well.”—The New York Times “Engrossing . . . Fast-moving . . . More than just a horse’s tale, because the humans who owned, trained, and rode Seabiscuit are equally fascinating. . . . [Laura Hillenbrand] shows an extraordinary talent for describing a horse race so vividly that the reader feels like the rider.”—Sports Illustrated “REMARKABLE . . . MEMORABLE . . . JUST AS COMPELLING TODAY AS IT WAS IN 1938.”—The Washington Post
$20.00 US
Mar 26, 2002
Paperback
Ballantine Books
US, Canada, Open Mkt

I Feel Bad About My Neck
And Other Thoughts On Being a Woman
978-0-307-27682-7
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A candid, hilarious look at women of a certain age and dealing with the tribulations of maintenance, menopause, empty nests, and life itself.“Wickedly witty ... Crackling sharp ... Fireworks shoot out [of this collection].” —The Boston GlobeWith her disarming, intimate, completely accessible voice, and dry sense of humor, Nora Ephron chronicles her life as an obsessed cook, passionate city dweller, and hapless parent. But mostly she speaks frankly and uproariously about life as an older woman. Utterly courageous, uproariously funny, and unexpectedly moving in its truth telling, I Feel Bad About My Neck is a scrumptious, irresistible treat of a book, full of truths, laugh out loud moments that will appeal to readers of all ages.
$17.00 US
Apr 08, 2008
Paperback
Vintage
US, Canada, Open Mkt